SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Grafter Chris aims to dodge Owls axe

Hot shot: Chris O'Grady set out to work hard and has hit five goals this summer.       PICTURE: steve ellis
Hot shot: Chris O'Grady set out to work hard and has hit five goals this summer. PICTURE: steve ellis
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CHRIS O’Grady pondered the exit of Ryan Lowe from Hillsborough and knew it could have been him.

It strengthened O’Grady’s resolve to avoid being among players offloaded by Dave Jones.

The Owls striker is determined to convince the manager that he should stay - and he hopes that his performances in the last few weeks have aided his cause.

“It could have been me (to go); Ryan Lowe didn’t play a lot last season. He was in a similar position to me; he’s gone now,” O’Grady told The Star.

“I said to myself ‘I’m going to make this work’. It’s not done yet. I have to do everything I possibly can to force my way in.”

He added that it was not necessary for Jones to talk to him about his future: “It speaks for itself, If he gives you a chance to play, it shows he rates you.”

O’Grady yearns to play in the Championship for the first time since he was with Leicester six years ago and believes he can produce the goods at this level. “Definitely,” he says. “I’m very confident.

“It would be nice on Saturday [at Derby] if I did get involved at all. It’s been a long journey back to the Championship; that’s the kind of player I think I am.”

O’Graday showed a sure touch plus his usual workrate both in the 4-1 friendly win at Kilmarnock last week and the Capital One Cup 4-2 victory at Oldham on Monday.

He scored one and made two for Marlon Harewood at Rugby Park, and helped to transform the Cup-tie with his two goals after going on as a first-half sub for Gary Madine.

“I was happy. That’s what I needed to do,” he says. “I haven’t had that many openings. Now I couldn’t be more pleased, really.

“In pre-season I worked as hard as I possibly could. I’ve scored five goals so far. I just wanted to show the manager I’ve got something to give.

He also scored in the friendlies against Sheffield FC - a 1-1 draw - and Reading - a 2-0 win.

The striker was out of the side for the promotion run-in and admits it was a “bitter-sweet” time for him.

“I believe if you work hard you’ll eventually get what you deserve,” he added. “Some people can work hard, think it’s not paying off and give up.

“I knew, going away for the off-season, that I could come back and show the manager I had something to give this coming season.

“I just wanted to work hard and shown him I wouldn’t let him down.”

The team received an ear-bashing from Jones at half time at Oldham. O’Grady said: “I suppose it was what you expect and what we deserved. Oldham were up for it. The first tackle that went in was a smasher; we didn’t give them that back for a little while. When I went on I knew I needed to do that.”

Jones has praised O’Grady’s attitude: “He has kept himself sharp. He’s a fantastic kid and has worked hard to try to do everything right. He earned that reward (at Oldham), but he’s been doing it all through pre-season.”

The Owls manager is looking to make further signings and let some players go.